Early on, before they became market breeders, Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz were owners... focusing their efforts only on purchasing yearlings and racing horses. And as serious, top-of-the-market shoppers, they turned to the late Bart Glass for his assistance in evaluating yearlings and choosing which ones to buy.
Bart was, after all, highly-regarded in both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred breeding industries as a true horseman and consummate livestock expert. He himself was the man who put the term “selected” in the then-fledgling Kentucky Standardbred Selected Yearling Sale. Bart inspected sale yearlings, graded them on conformation and pedigree, and helped place them in the appropriate sale session to maximize their value.
Kentucky Standardbred — and Bart’s work — quickly became the benchmark by which all other sales were compared, as year after year they sold many of the best-bred and best-looking yearlings on the market… with proven performance.
Bart brought that same success to the Libfeld/Katz partnership. His recommendations on yearling purchases focused on fillies from the very best maternal families in trotting. Bart also recommended the purchase of broodmares that had these same qualities of production, conformation and pedigree.
Those fillies and mares make up the partnership’s broodmare band. And now, Libfeld/Katz yearling buyers have the opportunity to tap into those famous trotting families!
Bart’s son Jim, schooled by the best, now carries on his father’s tradition as a trusted consultant. He, along with another man with an equally great eye for a horse and its pedigree, Perry Soderberg, assist the partnership in filly and mare acquisitions and stallion matings.
When it comes to choosing stallions for its broodmare matings, Libfeld/Katz plays close attention to many details that go much deeper than a stallion’s current or potential value in the yearling market.
“We’ve worked very hard over the years on this, and our priority has always been to breed strength to strength,” Marvin Katz says. “And now, with invaluable advice from Perry Soderberg, we place a lot of importance on a stallion’s physical stature.
“While we’re glad to always provide our yearling buyers with pedigree depth that will enable them to perhaps one day have a top stallion or select sale-quality broodmare, the main goal has always been to produce physically strong, correct and sound racehorses… racehorses with the speed and ability to compete in harness racing’s classic events.”
Emergence as trotting breeders
“We didn’t enter the breeding business simply because we had a large number of fillies available that we raced,” Marvin says. “We had a business plan in place… we became market breeders intentionally. Years ago, we saw that many of our best trotting yearlings — and pedigrees — were being bought and exported by Europeans, and we saw there would soon be a major void in the North American trotting market.
“At that time, with Bart’s help, we focused our efforts on buying yearling trotting fillies, and took advantage of the business opportunity that presented itself. We wanted those fillies for what would eventually become our broodmare band. Many became champions on the racetrack and are now some of our very best broodmares. We feel it's one of the greatest broodmare bands on the planet, in terms of production, pedigree and conformation.”
The broodmares are boarded at Kentuckiana Farms in Kentucky. After foals are weaned, they’re sent to the Glass family’s Walco Farms, where they receive the finest of care and grow strong and healthy in the gently rolling pastures of central Kentucky’s Bluegrass region.
When the yearling sale season rolls around, they’re placed in the shedrow of Kentuckiana Farms a noted industry leader in selling the most sought-after yearlings on the market.
Al Libfeld points out that those yearlings are now the complete focus of the partnership’s business model. “Quite simply, Libfeld/Katz is in the business of breeding and selling yearlings,” Al says. “For over 9 years now we have sold all of our Grand Circuit colts. We want to breed and sell the Chasing Tails and Sir Perseverances and Greenshoes of the future.”
Building for the future
From the success of their personal careers in business, both Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz know more than a thing or two about building for the future. And that’s just what they’re doing with their partnership’s breeding program.
With a buy-in to Captaintreacherous when he was just a yearling, and as owners in the Father Patrick Stable, the partnership is well-invested in two horses whose future careers as sires could be described as potentially “breed-shaping.”
Partnership yearlings in the future will no doubt include a powerful selection of youngsters by both of these champion horses. And that means a select group of pacing yearlings will soon be selling alongside the great trotters that Libfeld/Katz has traditionally offered.
In fact, 2013 Breeders Crown 2YO Filly Pace Champion Uffizi Hanover, owned by Libfeld, Katz and Goldband, will be among the first to be booked to “The Captain.”
The results of our methods? See for yourself!
2010 Hambletonian Winner Muscle Massive 2,1.57, 3,1.51($1,245,297)
now a successful sire stand at Hanover Shoe Farms. His first crop of racing age earned $1,770,146 in 2014.